Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tropper Scandal and Houston Texas

Being a Houston resident I was subjected to the horrible news about a woman who was looking to convert and was abused by the Rabbi who was overseeing her conversion. The Rabbi in question is Rabbi Tropper from Monsey, founder of the Eternal Jewish Family. The organization helps to set uniform standards for conversions that would be accepted worldwide and focuses on halachic conversions of non-Jewish spouses. Besides the horrible allegations and ramifications this case has, it also begs the question: could this have been prevented? There are seemingly abuses of power going back quite a ways. Rabbi Tropper set a new precdent in halacha when he revoked a woman's conversion becuase he found out she wore pants and occasionally uncovered her hair which is even made more suprising as he is quoted as saying you can't revert a conversion. Perhaps this should have been the first indicator of his abuse of power? Not to mention other allegations that he made false pormises and perhaps even tricked people into conversion. It's hard to believe that no one thought something was off about Rabbi Tropper to allow it to get to this point. Perhaps people knew but had no evidence to speak of. Any way you cut it this story is down right disturbing and has many people calling for the end of EJF. According to the EJF's website Rabbi Chaim Blum, EJF's liaison will serve as interim director. At the same time Rabbi Rav Reuven Feinstein will be taking a more active role in overseeing all of the halachic nuances of EJF in assuring that all universally accepted conversions are in compliance with the highest standards of halacha. The RCA has submitted it's own statement regarding these recent developments. There have been allegations that the woman involved in this story had her children thrown out of school and that she was barred from her shul both of which are entirely false. I hope there will be some shaking up on some level and that this story will not be simply swept "under the carpet". Stories like these only prove that more has to be done to put a stop to abuse from people in positions of power.

5 comments:

musicluver said...

For those who have a hard time believing this story, I have heard from someone who KNOWS the woman personally on the other side of the phone conversation who recorded the conversation! Those recordings ARE REAL!

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Music I too know her and I have a friend knows her much better than I. He was a bit upset she went to speak to a blogger about it. There is a lot more to this story that perhaps may or may not get out to the public but it's horrific any way you slice it.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Blogmeister,
It sounds like you know a little more than you’re letting on. Do you know the identity of Mendy Presser? How is it that you knew of the situation before anyone else in that community? Various posts throughout the internet by you seem to indicate a more than fleeting interest. Did you perhaps try to enflame a non-story by circulating an e-mail? Mendy Presser’s email is replete with grammatical errors and I can’t help but notice that the last line states ,“It did not take long till our Charedi community was knee deep in a major scandal”. I am guessing that the Houston Jewish community has been around for a while and that such a statement, regarding the time it took to brew a “scandal”, is a matter of relativity. Could it be that it didn’t take long for a “scandal” to manifest itself if Mendy Presser recently moved to Houston?
“Something is rotten in Houston and it isn’t the cheese!”—didn’t you recently post a blog about cream cheese? The list of addressees is also curious, especially given that many of the email addresses are now stale. What connects those email addresses together? It is seemingly a hodgepodge of random people—that is until you realize that it is likely a poor effort by the author to disguise his true identity. But hey, that’s why we love scandals— they give us a medium to provide conjecture and dream up a story, much like the way the Mendy Presser did.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Anon,

I have to say you have a strange sense of humor.

Anon:It sounds like you know a little more than you’re letting on. Do you know the identity of Mendy Presser?

I don't know his identity but many in the community seem to think they know who it is and it's someone who has a beef with Rabbi Wender. Since I don't know for sure who it is I have no interest in mentioning it or posting the email and just give out blatant loshon horah as others have done.

Anon:How is it that you knew of the situation before anyone else in that community?

Who said I did?